Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2003

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for official class times and locations and an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Lower Division (1000–2000) Special Content Courses

Note: Only course descriptions are listed below. For a comprehensive summary of course numbers, sections, times and locations, titles, and instructors, see the following web page:

AML 2410

Transitions and Translations to the Postmodern: American Literature and Culture from Post–WW II to 1984

Derek Merrill

This course will examine the relationship between literature, politics, and critical theory during the high modern and postmodern eras. This class will approach the transition from one time period to the other of one of rapid and radical change, articulated by the literature, and informed by the theory we cover in class. In addition to identifying the various forms, aesthetics, and subjects in high modernism that anticipated the dominant traits of postmodern literature, we will read the texts as reflecting, critiquing, and complicating the historical period in which they were written. Because this course considers how changes in American culture from the 1950 to the 1980s affected everyday life and one’s experience of it, we will read all the texts as a means to begin theorizing new ways of living among an increasingly fragmented social and spatial landscape.

We will read texts or excerpts by the following people: Theodor Adorno/Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, Fredric Jameson, Situationist International, Paul Auster, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Thomas Pynchon.

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AML 2410

“Un-American” Activities – Exploring the Intersections between Sexual and National Identity

Nishant Shahani

This class will look at the various ideological formations that surround constructions of US nationality at the current historical moment with a specific focus on the connections between citizenship and sexual identity. While it might be tempting to dismiss Jerry Falwell’s remarks that “the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle” were partly responsible for the events on September 11, his words can be perhaps seen as articulating a larger national mythology that is being consolidated at this historical moment. Not only is the rhetoric of scapegoating eerily reminiscent of sexual McCarthyism in the 50’s, but his remark also foregrounds the ways in which national identity and a constructed sense of authentic “Americanness” get enforced through a conspiracy theory rhetoric of genocidal paranoia. Is the US then, conceived in terms of heterosexuality? Is it, as Shane Phelan has asked, “a heterosexual regime”? Are sexual minorities “real” citizens? This class attempts to understand, if not answer, some of these issues, by exploring the intersections between national and sexual identities. Through an analysis of contemporary U.S fiction, poetry, drama and critical scholarship, this class will look at how certain texts interrogate the heterosexual matrix of the U.S by drawing attention to the manner in which compulsory heterosexuality is deeply embedded in legal institutions, political decisions and cultural domains. Texts include Tony Kushner’s Angels in America; Hearts and Minds, directed by Peter Davis; Judith Butler’s “Explanation and Exoneration;” and Michael Warner’s “The Trouble with Normal.”

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CRW 2300

Honors Poetry Workshop

Professor William Logan

“I suppose you want me to go to night school and read poems.”
– James Cagney, The Public Enemy

The University of Florida has one of the strongest creative writing programs in the country, and graduate faculty sometimes offer a beginning workshop for honors students. The best students will be eligible for upper-division workshops immediately afterwards. Poetry demands close attention to language (to the meaning and music of language), to emotion and the structures of emotion, and to the burdens of the past. No one can be a poet without knowing other poems (in other words, without reading). The beginning workshop is in part a course in poetic literature.

Poets will write one poem a week, and the workshop will discuss these poems as well as poems of the past. The best poetry has an understanding of psychology, botany, religion, philosophy, and how much french fries cost at the mall. No workshop can succeed unless there is an inclination toward laughter and wry jokes. Field trips may be possible – no year in Gainesville is complete without a visit to alligators. Students are not expected to have written poetry before, but must have strong language skills (you can’t manipulate the language effectively without grammar and spelling). Please do not take this course if you don’t know the difference between an adjective and an adverb, between it’s and its, between lay and lie, and between who and whom.

William Logan is the author of five books of poems, most recently Vain Empires (1998) and Night Battle (1999). His criticism has been collected in Reputations of the Tongue (1999), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in criticism, and Desperate Measures (2002).

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ENC 1145

Writing About Modern American Masculinities

Aaron Talbot

In the preface to Iron John (1990), Robert Bly states that “it is clear to men that the images of adult manhood given by the popular culture are worn out.” As such, our culture is “open to new visions of what a man is or could be.” Since 1990, various films, literature, television shows, music artists, comedians, and everyday people have come forward to explode and explore what it means to “be a man.” No longer about just providing for a family and being handy, a “man” is anyone from an ultra-violent schizophrenic (Fight Club) to a geeky teen (Holes) to a son mourning his father (Big Fish) to a child who lost his sex organs shortly after birth (“The True Story of John/Joan”). This class will focus on the modern definitions of manhood, the rites of passage for manhood, and who is left out or behind by Bly’s definitions introduced in the opening chapter of Iron John. For Bly, the “old myths” of Zeus and King Arthur do “not exist” anymore to guide young boys in their development to men; but perhaps they re-emerge in Big Fish, where a father becomes a “myth” through the son’s retelling of his father’s fishing stories. Bly also says that the initiation of young men is no longer part of our culture; how then do Holes and Always Running re-illustrate the rites of passage young men must undergo to become “men?” Is the initiation culturally different (white teen versus Latino gang member in East Los Angeles)? And though Bly states explicitly that his theory “does not exclude homosexual men,” does his cry for a unification of men depend on the exclusion of certain types of men, such as the hermaphrodite in Middlesex or the very “homosexual” he decrees is included? Finally, does the type of media used conflict with Bly’s definitions? Do Fight Club and The Sopranos represent the rebuilding of “manhoods” in the same manner as Eminem’s lyrics or “The True Story of John/Joan”? The objective is not to pinpoint the exact meanings of manhood (not even Bly does that) but to explore what it means to “be a man” during the last decade and how the definition has played out in literature, film, music, and everyday life.

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ENC 1145

Writing on Los Angeles

Christina Wolfreys

This course aims to explore critical and analytical writing through studying the representation of Los Angeles in fiction, on TV, and in film. We will focus on the relation between the city space and its inhabitants, as well as the experience of living in, and moving through, a city that has no center and always presents itself as an enigma. How can you know a city that seems to resist definite representation and yet which, paradoxically, spawns endless assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices? In order to understand how writers, screenwriters and film-makers come to terms with the spatial, social and psychological resistances of L.A., we will read the city and its representations through a range of concepts such as travel, space, framing, and performance, which the course will also teach you how to employ in your writing as necessary critical tools.

Required Reading:

TV and film viewed will include Boomtown and Magnolia. There may also be handouts and photocopies.

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ENC 1145

Writing on Los Angeles

Christina Wolfreys

This course aims to explore critical and analytical writing through studying the representation of Los Angeles in fiction, on TV, and in film. We will focus on the relation between the city space and its inhabitants, as well as the experience of living in, and moving through, a city that has no center and always presents itself as an enigma. How can you know a city that seems to resist definite representation and yet which, paradoxically, spawns endless assumptions, stereotypes and prejudices? In order to understand how writers, screenwriters and film-makers come to terms with the spatial, social and psychological resistances of L.A., we will read the city and its representations through a range of concepts such as travel, space, framing, and performance, which the course will also teach you how to employ in your writing as necessary critical tools.

Required Reading:

TV and film viewed will include Boomtown and Magnolia. There may also be handouts and photocopies.

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ENC 1145

Writing About Native-American Women Writers

Sophie Croisy

This course focuses on fictional writings by contemporary Native-American women writers. We will begin the course by looking at short stories and poems written by prominent women such as Paula Gunn Allen, Wendy Rose, Silko, Louise Erdrich, Linda Hogan, etc. We will then move on to the novels – and I also included a book of poetry by Joy Harjo, which will take us toward discussing and researching topics such as the stealing of sacred Native objects (Evil Dead Center), the history of land grabbing and other thefts by the American government (Hogan’s Mean Spirit will take us to Osage land in the 1930s when Native people were murdered after oil had been discovered on their territory in Oklahoma), displacement and acculturation (Ceremony), and many other fundamental topics related to colonization, war, loss of identity, so-called “magic realism,” etc.

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ENC 1145

Writing the Self through the Lens of Culture

James Arthur Gentry

This course will be taught in a computer lab.

Who are you, or, at the very least, who do you think you are? This course will focus on and introduce students to discourses of self, identity and culture. Students will engage with existing scholarship on culture and cultural productions so as to develop an understanding of the role(s) culture and cultural productions play in the development and construction of self and individual identity. Students will then engage in a project of self-discovery through critical introspection, culminating in an expression of self, both written and electronic. Through critical inquiries of texts from various genres – music, film, advertising, and literature – students will be encouraged to develop and practice critical thinking and reading skills as well as the writing skills requisite for successful academic and public writing.

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ENC 1145

Writing About Insanity and Revolution in American Culture

Glenn Freeman

Changing definitions of words like freedom, rebellion, insanity allow insight into the ways that a given culture views the individual and society, and the boundaries between the two. These words are at the core of how a given society defines itself. In this course, we will use literary figures to examine the shifting nature of such concepts in American Culture. Most notably, we will explore the rise of protest and counterculture movements in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. We will read books such as On The Road, Naked Lunch, The Bell Jar, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Girl, Interrupted. We will also be reading and discussing works by Freud, Foucault, Lacan, Cixous, and Butler, among other twentieth century theorists. We will spend time rewriting papers in groups to help each student develop strong techniques for revision.

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ENC 1145

Writing about Science Fiction and the Environment

Eric Otto

This writing course will explore the ways in which science fiction addresses issues of ecology and environment. We will begin by looking at science fiction as a genre that addresses issues critical to our society. Focusing further, we will examine environmental issues and the various philosophies of environmental thinkers who have proposed ways to work toward a more ecologically literate and environmental sustainable culture. Finally, we will combine both of these areas of study – science fiction and environmental philosophy – to examine how science fiction writers treat environmental issues in their works.

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ENC 1145

Writing about Computer Video Games

Lydia Blätter

Video games have a long and rich history not typically discussed or studied in academic environments. The purpose of this course will be to introduce students to the history of videogames as well as current trends in game theory in such a way that students will begin to orient their own gaming and participate in larger critical discussions. Questions to be addressed include: What does it mean to read a game as a text? How can we begin to think about the poetics as well as the politics of computer video games? How are gamers also situated as authors? How do games create an altered sense of subjectivity? How are representations of race and gender incorporated/omitted from games? How do online communities [game boards, sites such as eBay® that provide the space for selling virtual items] and third party programs change the gameworld? What are some of the problems associated with the alteration of the gameworld?

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ENC 1145

Writing About Television and Women: History, Representation and Feminism

Rosa Soto

Course description unavailable at this time.

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ENC 1145

Writing About Caribbean Literature

David Hart

We will read and write about Caribbean fiction, poetry, plays, and critical essays. I want to explore some major issues in the Caribbean that are brought up by these texts – issues such as (post)colonial identity, culture, education, exile, rootlessness, history, and comparisons to other cultures. All of these issues, and more, are open for discussion (and definition).

This course satisfies the Gordon Rule requirement of 6000 words of written work which will receive feedback and a grade; therefore, a significant part of this class will be dedicated to teaching writing as a response to the reading assignments. A student will meet the Gordon Rule only if all assigned work is completed.

Required Texts:

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ENG 2935

Honors: Authors Beginning With the Letter “P”

Dr. Mel New

This is the sixth in a series of courses I’ve been teaching in which the reading list is narrowed by the restriction that the authors, almost always in the modern era, all have surnames beginning with the same last letter. I also try not to include too many English-speaking authors, concentrating instead on the literature of Europe. The fact is that the construction of courses is usually just as arbitrary without being overtly so – but by following this method, I’ve been able to enjoy new combinations that would not have occurred otherwise, and still feel that if I ever managed to get through the alphabet, I would have read approximately 260 fine books by 260 fine authors--and not yet scratched the surface of all that a good reader should read.

I’ve skipped around the alphabet as whim and interests dictate, and it will be the letter P that we will encounter this semester. This will include the greatest French author of the last century, Proust, perhaps the greatest Russian poet of the l9th century, Pushkin, the great Italian playwright, Pasternakl, two very different Russian novelists, the famous author of Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, and the lesser known Communist writer, Andrey Platonov, and the most famous of all South African writers, Alan Paton. We will probably also read some Edgar Allen Poe and perhaps Thomas Pynchon. There will be written work.

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ENG 2935

Honors: Artists Who Work In More Than One Medium

Dr. Sidney Homan

We consider “cross-over” artists, those who work in more than one medium. We will therefore look at Samuel Beckett’s work for the theatre, as well as for radio, film, and television, along with his fiction. Shakespeare’s Sonnets will be used as “mirrors” for his plays. And Harold Pinter’s play Old Times will be traced back to the film Odd Man Out. The focus of the course is on performance and so students work with scene partners, learning about these artists by actually performing their works. No prior acting experience is required, and over the years there has been no advantage for, say, Theatre majors: that is, a would-be engineer does as well as a theatre major who does no better than an English major. Scene work is graded on “intent,” what the scene partners put into the scene in this, theatre, the most labor intensive of activities. Students will also attend and report on their experience with two productions at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre: An Evening with Samuel Beckett and As You Like It – with Music.

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